Drying cayenne peppers is quick and easy, and there are several different ways to do it. In this article, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know, and show you exactly how to dry cayenne peppers, step by step.
Do you have an overabundance of cayenne peppers in your garden this year, and struggling with what to do with them? Drying these delicious chilis is the best way to preserve their flavor all year long!
If you are like me, you plant spicy peppers every year, and then end up with too many to use up in time. They are just so much fun to have in the garden, and are very prolific.
Drying cayenne peppers is easy and fun, with so much reward. One of the best parts is that you don’t need any special equipment to do it.
From hanging them, to dehydrating, or using your oven, I’ll show you all the different ways to dry your chilis, test them for doneness, and keep them from molding.
Here’s what you’ll find in this detailed guide for how to dry cayenne peppers…
How Long Does It Take To Dry Cayenne Peppers?
Since they have thinner skins than most, it doesn’t take very long to dry cayenne peppers. But the exact time will vary depending on the method you use.
For example, it takes much longer to air dry them than it does to use a dehydrator or the oven. If you hang them or lay them out, it can take several days to dry completely, versus a few hours with other methods.
How To Dry Cayenne Peppers
The exact steps for drying cayenne peppers depends on the method you decide to use. Don’t worry, they are all very easy, and you have several options to try.
Below I’ll give you detailed steps for all the different ways you can do so. Choose the one that’s most convenient, or experiment with several to find what works best for you.
Hanging Cayenne Peppers To Dry
You can dry your hot peppers by hanging them. Many people like to do this by putting the chilis on a string, and dangling them in a sunny spot until they’re dry.
This works best, and will be much faster, if you live in a dry climate. If you’re in a humid climate like me, then it can be challenging to hang-dry cayennes without them molding inside.
It can take a week or more to dry them this way, longer if it’s humid. Here are the steps for hanging cayenne peppers to dry…
- Cut a slit in the side of each pepper, and/or cut off the tops if you prefer (optional, but helps prevent mildew).
- Either poke a hole in the top of each pepper, and put the string through it (using a needle and thread makes this much easier), or tie the string to each of the stems.
- Be sure to leave one end of the string longer for hanging.
- Hang your cayenne peppers in a sunny window where they are protected from moisture.
- Check them every few days to make sure they aren’t molding.
Dehydrating Cayenne Peppers
Using a food dehydrator is another great way to dry cayenne peppers. It takes a few days for them to dry out completely using this method, but it’s still faster than air-drying.
If your machine is like mine, and the racks have holes in them, then I recommend using liner sheets. Otherwise, the seeds will end up making a mess in the bottom.
Here’s how to dry cayenne peppers in a dehydrator…
- Cut the tops off of each pepper, and slice them in half (I recommend using gloves while doing this).
- Spread them out evenly on the dehydrator racks, it’s best if they aren’t touching each other.
- Turn it on medium (my dehydrator has a “vegetables” setting that I use, which is 125 degrees F).
- Check on them every few hours, and remove them once they are completely dry.
Drying Cayenne Peppers In The Oven
Drying cayenne peppers in the oven is easy. This is the fastest way to get the job done, and it’s my preferred method.
It takes a few hours for them to completely dry out in the oven. Keep an eye on them, and be careful that you don’t overdo it. You don’t want to end up burning them!
Here are the steps for using your oven to dry cayenne peppers…
- Preheat your oven on the lowest temperature you can (I use 200F for mine).
- Slice the tops off of each pepper, and cut them in half (wear disposable gloves for this).
- Spread them out on an ungreased cookie sheet, and put them into the oven.
- Check on them every 10 minutes, and remove any that are completely dry, leaving the soft ones in longer.
Air-Drying Cayenne Peppers
Cayenne peppers can be left out to air-dry. Simply lay them out on a paper plate, towel, or better yet, use a drying rack.
They will take several days to completely dry out this way, so this is definitely one of the slowest of methods.
If you choose to try doing it this way, be sure to cut the tops off, and slice the peppers in half, otherwise they could mold inside.
Here’s how to air-dry cayenne peppers…
- Remove the tops and cut each one in half (be sure to wear gloves when handling them).
- Spread them out on the rack or paper plate so that they are not touching each other.
- Place them in a dry location that gets good air circulation.
- Check them every few days to make sure they aren’t molding, and also test for dryness.
How To Store Dried Cayenne Peppers
Make sure your dried cayenne peppers have no moisture left in them before storing. They won’t store well, and can mold pretty quickly if they’re at all moist.
You’ll know they’re dry when they become very lightweight, brittle, and break apart easily. You can store them in the pantry in a glass jar, paper bag, or any other container you want.
Dried cayenne peppers also freeze very well, and you won’t have to worry about mold. Just be sure to use a freezer-safe bag, or other sealed container.
How Long Do Dried Cayenne Peppers Last?
You can keep dried cayenne peppers for many years, but the flavor and potency will fade over time.
So, to ensure you always have the freshest and spiciest supply, it’s best to replenish them every year, and toss out the old ones.
Need a bit more information? Here are a few common questions about drying cayenne peppers. If you can’t find an answer here, ask you question in the comments below.
Can you dry green cayenne peppers?
Yes! You can dry cayenne peppers at any stage of ripeness. However, just keep in mind that they won’t be as spicy when they are green.
How can you tell when cayenne peppers are dry?
It’s easy to tell just by touching them. Dried cayenne peppers are brittle, and easy to break apart. If they’re soft at all, then they need to dry longer.
What can you do with dried cayenne peppers?
Dried cayenne peppers are a staple in every kitchen. There are tons of great uses for them, especially if you love spicy food.
Add a little heat to your homemade recipes, make sauces, infuse oils or vinegars, make powder or DIY crushed red pepper flakes to refill your spice rack, the possibilities for using them are endless!
How do you prevent mold on dried cayenne peppers?
Mold is a common problem when you hang or air-dry cayenne peppers, especially when it’s humid.
To prevent it from happening, you can cut slits along the length of each pepper, and/or cut the tops off first.
Drying cayenne peppers from your garden is a fun project, and there are so many ways to do so. Make sure your chilis are truly dry before you store them, and you will have plenty to use all year long.
More About Food Preservation
Share your tips or favorite method for drying cayenne peppers in the comments below.